Heber Doust Curtis
|Died||January 9, 1942 (aged 69)|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan, University of Virginia|
He was born on June 27, 1872, the elder son of Orson Blair Curtis and Sarah Eliza Doust.
In 1920 he was appointed director of the Allegheny Observatory. In the same year he participated in the Great Debate with Harlow Shapley on the nature of nebulae and galaxies, and the size of the universe. Curtis advocated the now-accepted view that other galaxies apart from the Milky Way existed.
Curtis also invented a type of film plate comparator in about 1925, allowing 2 plates, each 8×10 in, to be compared using a set of prisms and placing the plates on stacked and aligned stages rather than next to one another as was the norm, this allowed the body of the device to measure just 60×51 cm. This device is packed in crates and resided at UCO Lick Observatory as of Aug 2011. His article describing the device appears in the Publications of the Allegheny Observatory, vol. VIII, no. 2.
In 1930 Curtis was appointed director of the University of Michigan observatories, but the shortage of funds following the Great Depression prevented the construction of a large reflector he had designed for the university at Ann Arbor. He contributed to develop the McMath-Hulbert private observatory at Lake Angelus.
He died on January 9, 1942.
The Heber Doust Curtis Memorial Telescope at the Portage Lake Observatory was dedicated in 1950 in Curtis' memory. It no longer operates, but remains as a memorial to Curtis. A small lunar crater east of the larger crater Picard in Mare Crisium received the official name Curtis.
Ever since Heber Curtis, a University of California astronomer, spied a ray of light shooting out of M87's core in 1918, astronomers have puzzled over the nature and origin of this jet and dozens of others discovered over the years shooting from the cores of active galaxies and quasars.
The symposium is part of the program preceding the dedication tomorrow of the Heber Doust Curtis Memorial Telescope, a $200000 instrument